It's a long way between now and the February signing date. But with more blue-chip players committing earlier than ever before, the recruiting sweepstakes in college football is easier to call. How about 12 of the top 20 and 32 of the top 50 prospects already pledged to major colleges?
Virtually everyone, from Tom Lemming to Rivals to Scout to EPSN, rate Notre Dame's current class as the most talented in the country. The Irish have oral commitments from 19 players, including 13 All-Americans. The list is headed by quarterback Dayne Crist of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and tight end Kyle Rudolph of Cincinnati, Ohio.
"For the first time, Notre Dame has landed All-America players on defense, an area they desperately needed to fill," said Lemming, CSTV's recruiting analyst. "(New assistant coach) Corwin Brown has brought a lot of energy with him."
But coach Charlie Weis can't afford to get complacent. Miami (Fla.), UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Michigan, Texas, Florida State and Nebraska also are getting their share of blue-chippers.
And, remember, the top four prospects in the country still are uncommitted. They are quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa., a two-sport star who might be lured to Ohio State to play football and basketball; running back Darrell Scott of Ventura, Calif.; wide receiver Julio Jones of Foley, Ala., who might choose Alabama or Florida State; and linebacker Arthur Brown of Wichita, Kan.
The Class of 2008 is better than the last two years. It is only average at quarterback and running back but outstanding at all other positions. In fact, it boasts the best group of wide receivers in memory. Last year's top wide receiver, Arrelious Benn, who could start at Illlinois as a freshman, would have been the only one in his class to make this year's top 10.